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					Dutch Immigrants Must Watch Racy Film
By BRUCE MUTSVAIRO, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 15, 2:35 PM ET

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a
topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be
immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal
Dutch culture.
If they can't stomach it, no need to apply

Despite whether they find the film offensive, applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they
hope to pass the Netherlands' new entrance examination

The test — the first of its kind in the world — became compulsory Wednesday, and was
made available at 138 Dutch embassies

Taking the exam costs $420. The price for a preparation package that includes the film, a CD
ROM and a picture album of famous Dutch people is $75

”As of today, immigrants wishing to settle in the Netherlands for, in particular, the purposes
of marrying or forming a relationship will be required to take the civic integration
examination abroad," the Immigration Ministry said in a statement

The test is part of a broader crackdown on immigration that has been gathering momentum in
the Netherlands since 2001

Anti-immigration sentiment peaked with filmmaker Theo van Gogh's murder by a Dutch
national of Moroccan descent in November 2004

Both praise and scorn have been poured on Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, the architect
of the new test and other policies that have reduced immigration by at least a third.

"If you pass, you're more than welcome," Verdonk said. "It is in the interest of Dutch society
and those concerned."

Not everyone is happy with the new test.

"Today is a black day for the people intending to bring their partners to Holland," said
Buitenlandse Partner, a lobbying group for mixed Dutch/immigrant couples.

Dutch theologian Karel Steenbrink criticized the 105-minute movie, saying it would be
offensive to some Muslims.

"It is not a prudent way of welcoming people to the Netherlands," said Steenbrink, a
professor at the University of Utrecht. "Minister Verdonk has radical ideas."

But Mohammed Sini, the chairman of Islam and Citizenship, a national Muslim organization,
defended the film, saying that homosexuality is "a reality."

Sini urged all immigrants "to embrace modernity."
A censored version with no homosexual and nude material had been prepared because it is
illegal to show such images in Iran and some other countries, filmmaker Walter Goverde
said.

"With all the respect I have for all religions, I think people need to understand that Holland
has its own liberal side as well," he said.

After viewing the film, which is available in most languages, applicants are then quizzed on
important Dutch factoids such as the number of provinces that make up the Netherlands; the
role played by William of Orange in the country's history; and Queen Beatrix's monarchial
functions.

There are some major exemptions. EU nationals, asylum-seekers and skilled workers who
earn more than $54,000 per year will not be required to take the 30-minute computerized
exam.

Also, citizens of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Switzerland
are exempt.

				
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posted:10/11/2011
language:English
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